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Azerbaijan urges Minsk Group to resolve issue of detained Azerbaijanis’ return

Azerbaijan urged the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen to resolve the issue of two Azerbaijanis’ rapid return detained in the Kalbajar district occupied by Armenia, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said at a briefing Oct. 15.

“While receiving the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev urged for the release of hostages," he said.

"They are civilians,” Mammadyarov said. “They are not saboteurs, and Armenia must release them."

According to Armenian media, during the operation on July 11, Armenian Special Forces in the village of Shaplar of the occupied Kalbajar district, killed Azerbaijani citizen Hasan Hasanov, and taken hostage Shahbaz Aliyev and Dilgam Asgarov.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan.

As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the U.S. are currently holding peace negotiations.

Armenia has not yet implemented four U.N. Security Council resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.